Though banned in both Islamic criminal Law and Ottoman criminal law, alcoholic beverages were consumed by different sections of the society in Ottoman land. There are many cases going into the recordings of local courts in relation to alcohol consumption. Moreover, in some of the cases of violation of public order, the defendants were found to be drunk. The pecuniary penalties collected from the defendants of such cases by the authorities who were in charge of maintaining the public order in the Ottoman state constituted an important source of revenue. The state government made decisions from time to time to close down the places where alcohol was consumed. But, the presence of non-Muslim population in cities, taxes collected from the pubs and alcohol production by the state hindered the governments from banning the consumption of alcohol. The present study covers 16th century as a period. Archive recordings reflecting both the position of the central government and local governments were used as resources. The purpose of the presents study is to reveal the prevalence of the crime of alcohol consumption, its legal dimension and the position of the central government in 16th century Ottoman society.
Ottoman state, alcohol consumption, pubs, drunkard, court, non-Muslim